Free Chiropractic Care in Kobe after A Tremendous Earthquake 1995

Maeda Shigeru '95.05.01

1. Introduction

In 11th February 1995, 4 members of Pacific Asia Association of Chiropractic(PAAC) & Japan Osteopathy Academy(JOA), Dr.Hiratsuka, Dr.Okazaki, Dr.Nishioka & auther Maeda, went to Sumiyoshi Elementary School (Sumiyoshihigashi-Machi, Higashinada-Ku, Kobe), one of many refuges, and could get an agreement to do free chiropractic care. After this, 39 members(60 man-days total) of PAAC & JOA did free care on every Sunday from 11/2 to 23/4 (10 days total).

Because many school buildings are just collapsing, sufferes are unavoidable a tent life in school grounds in many school shelters, but sufferes in Sumiyoshi Elementary School can use school buildings for life, owing to little damage in school buildings by earthquake. And this shelter is the lagest one in Higashinada-Ku( about 600 sufferes lived in at peak period), it has emergency room by a medical doctor and nurses, and is distributing station of foods and water for residents in neighborhood. So we could do free chiropractic care in the building.

As our job is one of kind deeds basicaly, I think participated doctors have a feeling that "Such time is a turn of myself".

I would like to express gratitude to the doctors who applied to this activities pleasantly, and staffs of secretariat of PAAC and JOA with great support.

However, we offered free chiropractic care at the headquarters of some shelters, anyone didn't know even the name of chiropractic. Being unlike well-known therapy such as acupuncture, moxibustion and shiatu-massage, chiropractic is known by only a little people yet, then it was the first barrier that we made the representatives of the shelter understood of chiropractic. We guessed above some extent in advence, but the lebel of the recogition of chiropractic into the community was much low than we expected.

The second barrier was getting the adjusting space. After the representatives comprehended chiropractic, yet they showed disapproval for free care with the thinking of that they had to make adjusting space in spite of being full of sufferes in classrooms and gymnasium. then we explained that we need only narrow space, for example passage-way. Finaly we could get agreement of free care at a corner of the passage-way in the building.

Yet, the third barrier was left. It was calling together patients. As almost people didn't know chiropractic, we handed out the people leaflets explaining chiropractic and without provoking a medical doctor in the emergency room, made a poster to post up on school gate, and used school announcement. In addition, we offered free care information to the volunteer column of newspapers, PC network and internet. When 100 sheets of leaflet are distributed, about 15-20 persons came to free care.



Date     11/2  12/2  19/2  26/2  5/3  12/3  19/3  26/3  9/4  23/4
staffs     4     4     4     8     6    8     8     6     6    6
tables     0     0     3     4     4    5     5     5     5    5
patients  16    42    57    48    66   59   102    74    67   46

        we used two benches in the open air on 11/2 & 12/2.

[ Histgram by age of 566 patients who's age were known ]
1- 9 = 1 10-19 = 19 20-29 = 46 total patients = 577 (man-days) 30-39 = 62 40-49 = 114 mean age of patients = 51 50-59 = 131 minimum age of patients = 8 60-69 = 132 maximum age of patients = 84 70-79 = 58 80- = 3
The age of a patient is distributing to equality from 40's to 60's from the histgram. I don't know whether this age distribution is general or specific in this case. Please judge in comparison with your clinic.

[ Symptoms complained by patients ]
Higashinada-Ku has the lagest number of deaths by collapsed houses than other districts. The most numerous complaint was pain in shoulder, arm, elbow, back due to carrying havy articles or water after an earthquake. Other complaints were joint dysfunction of the extremities caused by being buried under the collapsed house and furniture, and mental shock caused by death of family member, by earthquake itself.@Especially when psychic pain comes in the body, the patient complains stiff neck or fatigue in many cases, so we had to pay attention in this point. In these cases, some patients showed neurosis or depression apparently, the doctor in charge adjusted such patient very cautiouslly.

[ Patient's responce after adjustment ]
We obtained good reaction generally. As every participant doctor has his/her clinilal experience, they adjusted very carefully in spite of short time (all patients are first time treatment for the doctor). Of course iatrogenic diseases( misadjustments ) didn't happen at all. And any complaint was not made for us by medical doctors in emergency room.

In the latter half of activity, the family member and an acquaintance of the one who came to free care, came to our free care by word of mouth. When the victims knew that almost doctor had come far from near Tokyo, the fact encouraged them very much.

[ Doctor's Impression ]
Following are main impressions of participant doctors.

  1. Although I wanted to do something every time I hear the news of an earthquake, but I could not do anything without timely opportunity. Seeing recruitment by PAAC I applied promptly. Sufferes thanked me heartily after treatment and it delighted me much more.

  2. I realized that the terribleness of an earthquake surpasses my imagination, when I actually saw collapsed houses and collapsing building in Kobe.

  3. Although there are a few patients of the first visit in my daily job, all patients at the free care were first visit for me. Moreover, some results must be demanded in limited time (about 15 minutes ). It was a great challenge for me.

  4. Usually I have no chance to visit many other doctors office for looking their actual technique, I could do it at free chiropractic care in Kobe. This was unique experience for me not obtained in a usual seminar.

    [ Participant Doctors ]
    Kansai Region:
     Igarashi Hidetaka,   Ishida Shinji,      Kawachi Takashi,
     Koshiba Tokutaro,    Komura Kenji,       Sugiyama Hideki,
     Nishioka Nobuo,      Maeda Shigeru,      Yoshida Humiaki
    Kanto Region:
     Adachi Kazuko,       Ichigozaki Kenichiro,  Ueki Kosuke,
     Ohkubbo Noriko,      Ohba Kenji,            Okazaki Toyoteru,
     Kanari chikao,       Kaneko Susumu,         Kanbe Norimitu, 
     Kurihara Teruhisa,   Koeda Hideo,           Gonda Takashi, 
     Sakurada Yoshiharu,  Tanaka Kazunori,       Doi Takesi, 
     Nakajima Toyohito,   Ninoyu Akira,          Hasegawa Akio, 
     Hatanaka Ikuo,       Hatsuda Kosuke,        Harada Kenjo, 
     Hiratsuka Koichi,    Hiratsuka Yasuyuki,    Matsuishi Masakazu, 
     Murakami Takeshi,    Yamamoto Kazuhiro,     Watanabe Tsutomu,
     Watanabe Hideo,      anonymous doctor



    The sufferes unavoidable shelter life were about 200,000 at a peak period, and 50,000 sufferes are now living in shelters at the end of April '95 when this manuscript being written. Total sufferes including the persons who could use their house will exceed 300,000. But the number of persons that we could treat was 600 at most. It might as well be a drop in a ocean in comparison with these two numbers. However, if each do something he/she can, even if it is trifling, it will grow into a large activity. And we got a response that the sensation of this one drop will grow into a big wave.

    From beginning we had a idea doing free chiropractic care in other shelters too, but we could not put that plan into practice because the mobilization power of PAAC and JOA was not so much as to expand over 2 places. It was much regrettable that we did not hear the volunteer information of other chiropractic association in Kobe except for International Chiropractic Research Society.

    The following is a digression.
    About 30% of patients knew only the name of chiropractic by the television or others, although they have not receive chiropractic. Only a few person has received chiropractic on an earlier occasion. About 70% of patients did not know chiropractic at all. Some patients were believing chiropractic adjustment would be surely painful, rough treatment. Some patients imagined that a patient over 70 years old is not suitable for chiropractic. And some patients came to free care fearfully. Needless to say after treatment, theses misunderstanding was solved entirely. We found through this activity that chiropractic is not well known yet or misunderstood for chiropractic being violent treatment even in a big city Kobe. In Japan, chiropractic is not well known yet, and we must do campaign for enlightenment of chiropractic strongly.

    [ Volunteer Informations on Newspaper ]

    10/2:  acupuncture & moxibustion:  only this day
    18/2:  chiropractic: PAAC:  10 days every Sunday on one site
    19/2:  chiropractic: only this day 
    19/2:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day, 30 docters 
           on 12 sites
    19/2:  acupuncture & moxibustion:  only one day, on 2 sites
    19/2:  massage: only one day, 10 docters 0n 2 sites
    25/2:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day, on 8 sites
    25/2:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day, 35 doctors 
           on 2 sites
    3/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: on 8 sites
    3/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: on 4 sites
    3/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: on 3 sites
    4/3:  moxibustion: on 4 sites
    5/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day on one site
    5/3:  kikou: 2 days
    11/3:  massage: only one day on 2 sites
    11/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day on 12 sites
    16/3:  massage: only one day on 2 sites
    18/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day on 11 sites
    19/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day on one site
    20/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day on 7 sites
    24/3:  acupuncture & moxibustion: only one day on 12 sites
    24/3:  massage:  only one day on 2 sites
    5/4:  chiropractic: PAAC
    21/4:  moxibustion: only one day on 9 sites
    26/4: massage:  5 days on one site
    back to "Chiropractic in Japan" top page
    "Chiropractic in Japan" Maeda Shigeru, Copyright 1996-; All rights reserved.